Megachurch Pastor Responds To Accusation That He Plagiarized Apology For Sexist Joke

Josh Howerton of Texas said that to make a husband happy, a wife should “wear what he tells you to wear and do what he tells you to do."
A screenshot shows Josh Howerton.
A screenshot shows Josh Howerton.

A Texas megachurch pastor has apologized after delivering a sexist joke during a recent sermon — but now he’s addressing claims that his mea culpa was plagiarized.

Josh Howerton, a senior pastor at Lakepointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, faced criticism online after footage from a February sermon circulated on social media. In the clip, Howerton said that on a couple’s wedding night, a woman should “stand where he tells you to stand, wear what he tells you to wear and do what he tells you to do” to make her husband “the happiest man in the world.”

When the backlash hit, Howerton told his congregation that he needed “to address a thing,” explaining that his earlier remarks were a “joke.”

“The Book of Proverbs says this: It says that careless words can stab like a sword, but that wise words lead to healing,” he said last week.

“If that joke fell on you the wrong way, I need you to hear three things,” he said. “Number one, I love you. Now listen, Lakepointe Church, I love you more than you will ever imagine. ... Number two, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for something that felt like careless words. Let me actually, let me rephrase. I’m sorry for careless words. I’m sorry about that. And number three, thank you for your grace to me. I want to be doing this with you for decades and decades and decades.”

Soon, a writer at a Christian media outlet pointed out the similarities between Howerton’s apology and an earlier apology from a pastor in Florida.

Joby Martin, the lead pastor at The Church of Eleven22 in Jacksonville, similarly told his church in August 2022 that he needed “to address a thing,” according to The Roys Report.

Martin said that he’d joked about breastfeeding in a sermon the week prior, but that he’d been “careless” in his remarks.

The Florida pastor also quoted Proverbs, saying “careless words stab like a sword, and wise words lead to healing.”

He ended his apology with: “Church, I need you to hear this, OK? Three things. I love you. ... I love this church. I love getting to do this thing together. And again, I am sorry. And I want to say thank you. Thank you for the grace that you give me every single week to stand up here and do what I get to do. And I hope, by God’s grace, I’ll get to do this for decades and decades to come.”

On Wednesday, Howerton said on social media that Martin had called him to help with his sermon and give him “some language.”

“If you ever hear anything from me in one of Pastor Joby’s sermons, YUP – he’s got my permission and we probably texted about it,” Howerton wrote.

“Pastors are CONSTANTLY helping each other with communication because we have a heart to help and just want to build the kingdom. ... The new thing is for internet cancel mobs to accuse pastors of ‘plagiarizing’ sermon content.”

Howerton did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

A Southern Baptist Convention media representative told HuffPost that they weren’t authorized to speak for the organization, but nonetheless suggested that the SBC has little to no oversight in cases that involve its individual churches and pastors. The rep forwarded all questions to the SBC president, who didn’t immediately respond.

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